Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are implicated in aging-related neurodegenerative disorders. 8-Oxoguanine (8-oxoG), a common oxidised base lesion, is often highly accumulated in brains from patients with neurodegenerative disorders. MTH1 hydrolyses 8-oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine triphosphate (8-oxo-dGTP) to 8-oxo-dGMP and pyrophosphate in nucleotide pools, while OGG1 excises 8-oxoG paired with cytosine in DNA, thereby minimising the accumulation of 8-oxoG in DNA. Mth1/Ogg1-double knockout (TO-DKO) mice are highly susceptible to neurodegeneration under oxidative conditions and show increased accumulation of 8-oxoG in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in neurons, suggesting that 8-oxoG accumulation in mtDNA causes mitochondrial dysfunction. Here, we evaluated the contribution of MTH1 and OGG1 to the prevention of mitochondrial dysfunction during neuritogenesis in vitro. We isolated cortical neurons from adult wild-type and TO-DKO mice and maintained them with or without antioxidants for 2 to 5 days and then examined neuritogenesis. In the presence of antioxidants, both TO-DKO and wild-type neurons exhibited efficient neurite extension and arborisation. However, in the absence of antioxidants, the accumulation of 8-oxoG in mtDNA of TO-DKO neurons was increased resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. Cells also exhibited poor neurite outgrowth with decreased complexity of neuritic arborisation, indicating that MTH1 and OGG1 are essential for neuritogenesis under oxidative conditions.
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